International Day for Asbestos Victims (Paris, 12th October 2012)
(the slides of the talks of the conference are now on line)
International Day for Asbestos Victims
12th october 2012
Palace of Luxembourg, Paris, France
(Organising committee of the international day for asbestos victims)
(Scientific committee of the international day for asbestos victims)
1. Summary of the « International Day »
The conference organised by the French national association of asbestos victims (ANDEVA), entitled « International Day for Asbestos Victims » will be held in Paris, palace of Luxembourg, Friday 12th of October. This conference will gather around 250 participants - scientists, executives, doctors, technicians, NGO activists, asbestos victims and their family - coming from more than twenty countries. The room of the colloquium will be equipped with simultaneous translation (French/English/Italien/Spanish) required by the international character of speakers.
The following format is envisaged :
the morning session « state of science » (epidemiology and medical research) ;
The morning session will provide references on epidemiology of cancers caused by asbestos and the progress - modest but genuine - concerning therapies.
The afternoon session will detail the situation and specificities of various regions of the globe, concerning asbestos, the awareness of hazards and situation of victims, through the presentations by doctors, labour inspectors, activists, victims from several countries (Europe, Canada, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Africa, etc).
2. The context
The knowledge of asbestos hazards is quite ancient, in France one often quotes factory inspector Auribault report (1906) as the first warning. The carcinogenicity has been scientifically well established since the fifties (through the Doll studies and then Wagner studies) and an impressive amount of epidemiological data has been accumulated since. Nevertheless translation of scientific knowledge into prevention has been much too slow and even today there are shocking inequalities between regions of the planet. Every country using or having used asbestos is facing today an epidemic of cancers ; the situation concerning prevention of diseases and compensation of victims is nevertheless highly contrasted.
Asbestos is banned thoughout the 27 countries of European Community and in a further thirty countries, but several countries remain big producers (Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Canada) or big consumers of asbestos (China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, etc). The asbestos mining industry continue to spread misinformation on the hazards, sometimes even helped by their governments (example : Canada).
The majority of asbestos victims are contaminated at their work place and, since the high risk trades are mostly men’s, a large majority of victims are men ; nevertheless, we witness today a large number of environmental or domestic exposure victims. Compensation of asbestos victims is very different from one place to another. France can be shown as an example with the creation of the (French) Indemnisation Fund for Asbestos Victims (FIVA) ; in the United States compensation is usually obtained through lengthy legal procedures. In many countries asbestos cancers are just ignored by authorities.
3. Program and objectives
The choice of speakers aims at surveying the body of scientific knowledge and drawing a map of the diverse situations in different countries concerning use of asbestos, prevention of diseases, compensation of victims and actions undertaken or to be undertaken.
The meeting has a double purpose : increase diffusion of scientific knowledge and develop an international public health movement. This « international day » follows several international meetings, the latest held in Casale Monferrato, Italy, during April 2011, and some important issues have already been underlined :
a call for a worldwide ban on asbestos ;
The « international day for asbestos victims » in Paris will give the opportunity to develop these themes ; the edition and publication of the colloquium’s « acts » will help to provide better awareness of the risks and damages due to asbestos and stimulate better public health policies to fight this plague at regional, national, european and worldwide level.